If you prefer your shrubs to have green foliage and not be too noticeable, then Coprosma ‘Rainbow Surprise’ isn’t for you. But, if you enjoy extrovert shrubs, ones that show-off all year round, then it will be very much to your liking. The small leaves have several different colour variations, according to the season. In summer they are cream and green, with small amounts of gold and pink shades, then in autumn, winter and early spring they are a mixture of hot pink, red and dark green. No fear of dull periods with this one!
‘Rainbow Surprise’ is a versatile shrub, with a bushy habit and a height of around 1.5 metres. It will grow in a wide range of situations, from near the sea to inland, and will tolerate dry soils once established. What it doesn’t like are heavy frosts and soils that don’t drain freely.
It is excellent as part of a border of mixed shrubs, teaming well with green Pittosporums, such as the compact growing ‘Sumo’, and with the dark foliage of Mrytus ‘Black Beauty’. These are all shrubs which respond to clipping, so they can be trained to a desired shape or height if need be.
A group of Coprosma ‘Rainbow Surprise’ looks especially striking, or it can be mingled with pink flowered shrubs such as Hebe ‘Totara Pink’ which provides a long season of colour.
An outstanding way in which to grow Coprosma ‘Rainbow Surprise’ is as a lowish hedge - around a metre high. This works especially well when it’s seen against a dark green background, of say taller hedges, shrubs, walls or buildings. Clipping keeps it dense and encourages fresh new growth which is very colourful, creating a modern art effect."